Trying to pinpoint what’s going on with the New York City real estate market right now can be like standing at the shoreline and determining the exact moment the tide turns — without a tide chart.

But as sales pick up and open houses draw dozens of prospects instead of single-digit groups, one thing is clear: the rules of the game have changed — in some ways, for good. The recession has brought about many of the biggest changes, like lower prices, tighter lending standards and historically low interest rates. But technology, too, has had a large impact on the way deals get done, giving everyone access to information that brokers once held close to the vest, and revealing details even they may not have known. (A buyer involved in multiple lawsuits? Thanks, Google!) As buyers and sellers make their way down the path to move-in day, what once seemed like a well-marked highway has become more like a labyrinth. Here are guideposts that can help make sense of the maze:
By Susan Stellin, May 20, 2010 NYT

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  • MORTGAGE HURDLES
  • THE SEARCH
  • PRICING AND NEGOTIATING
  • THE CONTRACT
  • GETTING TO CLOSING